In Matthew 16:15 Jesus challenged his disciples with the question “Who do you say that I am?” I am sensing a challenge from the Lord this week, asking a similar but different question:
Who do you say that YOU are?
It is easy to recognize who someone else is and who God has called them to be. External perspective has a way of providing that kind of insight for other people, but it is much harder to develop that same view of ourselves, often leading to thinking that limits who we are and what we can do because we have failed to understand our gifts and callings.
Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “It was he [Jesus] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare god’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ might be built up . . .” Certainly these five, often referred to as the “five-fold ministry” are not the only callings God has, as Romans 12:6-8 lists others: servers, encouragers, givers, leaders and governors, and the merciful, as well as others not stated there—healers, those with hospitality, and more.
The goal here isn’t specifically to try to figure out which one of the five-fold ministry you are, but where God has called you as a whole. If it IS one or more of those five that is fine too, but that isn’t specifically the aim. We need to know our own individual identity—who God has designed each of us to be. If I am unable to say “I am a _____” and actually fill in that blank with something meaningful, how can I expect to operate in that area with any certainty? If God has called me to be a healer, and I cannot recognize that about myself, or at least not enough to be comfortable saying it out loud, then some part of me doesn’t truly accept my identity.
God wants each of us to be firm and settled about our identity. This doesn’t look like shouting it from the rooftops to make sure everyone else knows, as the need to tell everyone else is likely a different sign of insecurity, but we do need to be able to recognize it enough to answer the question for ourselves.
This week, let us do an exercise in identity and take a look at who we are.
- Write it down until it stops feeling strange to read that about ourselves: I am a _____.
- Step out and tell a friend. This will probably feel uncomfortable—that’s the point.
- When that feels strange, find a second person to tell. The goal here isn’t to tell a trillion people, but one or two to try it on for size and start getting used to the sound of it.
- Keep rehearsing it in our mind that I am a ______.
- Go out and be awesome!